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Hlas: McCarney goes from savior to unemployed in two years
IOWA CITY — The coach who led North Texas' football team against Iowa three weeks ago got fired Saturday night.
The coach who was supposed to lead Maryland's team against the Hawkeyes two weeks from now got fired Sunday afternoon.
This is major-college football today. Coaches of all teams stress to their players to never quit, to see things through. But those same coaches leave their schools for other jobs in mid-contract.
Now, more and more universities are indirectly fighting back by firing coaches before their contracts have elapsed.
So long, Dan McCarney. Fare thee well, Randy Edsall.
The message isn't subtle. The pretense of college football being something noble has been dropped by the people who once insisted it was true.
Making money is the most-important thing about having a college football program. Any player who had a romantic view of how it works is free to leave when his coach gets fired. Of course, it means he'll have to sit out a year before he can play again if he goes to another big school.
It's not my job or inclination to defend coaches who will get buyouts greater than the net worth of most of us. But when schools start routinely sacking coaches in midseason for no reasons other than their teams are losing, I never want to hear another pious word from universities on the great values they're instilling in their student-athletes.
They're telling them this is a business and only a business, and you are commodities and only commodities.
'You don't always know what other people are going through and experiencing, and I don't pretend to know all the details,' Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday. 'Especially this time of year, like I'm not really good on current events right now. I'd get killed in a game show.
'We talk to our players all the time about sticking it out, pushing through. You face adversity, you work through it. But again, I'm not passing judgment on anybody. I'm not there. I don't live there.'
No, Ferentz lives in Iowa City. Were he 3-3 instead of 6-0, many would be suggesting he seek employment elsewhere ASAP.
McCarney got fired at North Texas because his team is 0-5 and was humiliated 66-7 by FCS Portland State Saturday. The rise of football fortunes there under McCarney was swift, but not nearly as swift as the fall.
Two years ago, the Mean Green won nine games and a bowl. But they couldn't compete at Iowa three weeks ago in a 62-16 loss, and looked like FBS bottom-feeders.
'We had it rolling and couldn't sustain it,' he told the Denton Record-Chronicle. 'That is really hard to swallow.'
So North Texas, which hadn't won more than three games in the six seasons before McCarney's hiring there, wants to start over again. It has a 5-year-old, $78 million stadium. It has 37,000 students. It wants to be somebody, and schools at so many places feel they need to be good at football to be somebody.
Maryland is playing high-stakes poker. It has a pile of Under Armour money behind it, and needs to be really good to get noticed in the Washington-Baltimore area.
The Terrapins went to a bowl last year, but have been getting kicked around this season. Edsall, the fired coach, had limitations in their minds. Under Armour isn't funding limitations.
Every major university with a football team wants a savior. When they get one, they expect him to never stop being one.
Half the teams keep losing every week, though.